NHL releases full 2010-11 schedule of events

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The NHL has released it’s schedule of events for next season, and it’s a jam-packed schedule full of big events that is sure to put the NHL and hockey at the forefront of the sports world. At least, I’m sure that’s what the NHL is hoping will happen.

By now, you’ve heard the news of the 2011 Winter Classic being played at Heinz Field between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Washington Capitals. We also have news on the NHL All-Star game, the big NHL premiere weekend that will take place in Europe as well as the big news of a second outdoor game in Canada.

A couple of notes:

First off, the NHL is planning a Heritage Classic outdoor game between Calgary and Montreal, to be broadcast on CBC, RDS, and Versus. The NHL just needs the competition committee to approve the game in June.

The full NHL schedule for next season will be released on June 22.

Here’s the full schedule of events:

2010-11 NHL EVENTS
Kraft
Hockeyville, Sep. 28, Sabres v. Senators
Compuware NHL PremiereTM,
Oct. 7-10: Blue Jackets v. Sharks, Stockholm; Hurricanes v. Wild
Helsinki;
Bruins v. Coyotes, Prague
NHL Face-Off, Oct. 7, Canadiens v. Maple
Leafs, Toronto, ON
NHL Hall of Fame Game, Nov. 6
Bridgestone NHL
Winter Classic, Jan. 1: Capitals v. Penguins, Heinz Field, Pittsburgh
NHL
All-Star Weekend, Jan. 29-30: Raleigh, NC
Hockey Day In Canada, Feb.
12
Hockey Day in America, Feb. 20
NHL Heritage ClassicTM,
Feb. 20: Canadiens v. Flames, McMahon Stadium, Calgary, AB (pending
approval of the Competition Committee)
2011 Stanley Cup® Playoffs,
April 13
NHL AwardsTM, Jun. 22, Las Vegas, NV
NHL Entry
Draft, Jun. 24-25, St. Paul, MN

Full release after the jump


NEW YORK (May 28, 2010) – The National Hockey League announced
today its schedule of signature events for the 2010-11 NHL season. A
record number of events are slated for this upcoming season, setting up
the NHL’s business for another successful year. Revenue generated from
the League’s large-scale events last season was up 22 percent over the
previous year and helped propel the League’s fourth consecutive year of
business growth, which included record-setting television ratings and
digital metrics across its platforms; as well as an unprecedented level
of NHL business partner activation.

Kraft Hockeyville

The NHL begins its season with the ultimate grassroots event that
gives communities across Canada the honor of hosting an NHL game from
their very own local arena. Dundas, Ontario, this year’s winning
community, represents the fifth winner of the annual Kraft Hockeyville
program.
On Tuesday, September 28, Dundas will host a 2010-11 NHL
pre-season game between the Buffalo Sabres and the Ottawa Senators at
the newly renovated J.L. Grightmire Market Street Arena. Together with
the National Hockey League, National Hockey League Players’ Association
and CBC Television, Kraft connects family and friends through their
passion for hockey and pride for their community. Kraft Canada provides
$100,000 in arena upgrades to the winning community and $25,000 to each
of the four runner-up communities.

Compuware NHL Premiere

The 2010-11 NHL regular-season will launch on two continents next
October with the League celebrating its fourth consecutive year of
regular-season games taking place across Europe. An unprecedented six
NHL® teams – Boston Bruins, Carolina Hurricanes, Columbus Blue Jackets,
Minnesota Wild, Phoenix Coyotes and San Jose Sharks – will open the
season by playing six games in Europe as part of 2010 Compuware NHL
PremiereTM and NHL Face-OffTM.

The
Hurricanes and Wild will play two regular-season games against each
other at Hartwall Areena in Helsinki, Finland, on Thursday, Oct. 7 and
Friday, Oct. 8. The Blue Jackets and Sharks will square off for two
games at the Ericsson Globe Arena in Stockholm, Sweden, on Friday, Oct. 8
and Saturday, Oct. 9. Meanwhile, the Bruins and Coyotes will play each
other at O2 Arena in Prague, Czech Republic, on Saturday, Oct. 9 and
Sunday, Oct. 10.

VERSUS, as well as local rightsholders will
televise the action live to fans in the U.S. In Canada, TSN will
provide live coverage.

Prior to the start of the regular
season in October, all six NHL teams will square off against European
competition in a series of exhibition games spanning across Europe.
Included in those games will be the first-ever visits by an NHL team to
Belfast, Ireland; Mannheim, Germany; Riga, Latvia; and St. Petersburg,
Russia.

NHL Face-Off

NHL Face-Off-the League’s annual launch
event in North America-welcomes the beginning of the 2010-11 NHL season
in North America on Oct. 7 with the Toronto Maple Leafs hosting
arch-rival Montreal Canadiens live on CBC. The League will officially
celebrate the start of the season with an opening day hockey and
entertainment festival in Toronto providing fans the opportunity to
celebrate the coming of a historic NHL season. CBC will present a
second game that evening as part of an opening-night doubleheader when
the Edmonton Oilers host the Calgary Flames.

In the U.S., the
season begins with a special doubleheader on VERSUS. Both Stanley Cup
finalists will take to the ice when the Flyers play Pittsburgh, followed
by the Blackhawks squaring off against the Colorado Avalanche.

Hall
of Fame

The Hall of Fame Game will be played on Saturday,
November 6, when the Toronto Maple Leafs will face either the Buffalo
Sabres or Chicago Blackhawks. The Hall of Fame inductions will take
place on Monday, November 8. CBC’s “Hockey Night In Canada” will once
again provide full coverage of all of the festivities that evening.

Bridgestone
NHL Winter Classic

The much anticipated Bridgestone NHL Winter
Classic lands at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh in 2011-home of the
Pittsburgh Steelers. Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin lead their
respective teams in the outdoor classic when the Pittsburgh Penguins
host the Washington Capitals in the 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter ClassicTM
on New Year’s Day. The NHL’s fiercest rivalry will face-off at 1 p.m.
ET in the classic, which Forbes magazine calls the best new sporting
event of the last decade. NBC will provide live broadcast coverage of
the game in the U.S. In Canada, CBC and RDS will televise the event
live. NHL Radio and Sirius XM Radio will provide radio coverage and
NHL.com will have extensive digital coverage. Fans can be first in line
to receive the updates and alerts on ticketing, news and other
information by visiting NHL.com for its continuing coverage on all
things related to the 2011 NHL Bridgestone Winter Classic.

NHL
All-Star Game

The League’s mid-season spectacular returns when the
Carolina Hurricanes and the city of Raleigh host the 2011 National
Hockey League All-Star Celebration on Saturday, January 29 and Sunday,
January 30 and will include Honda NHL SuperSkills® and the 58th NHL
All-Star Game at RBC Center. The action from both nights will be
covered live by VERSUS, CBC and RDS. The 2011 NHL All-Star Game will
mark the first time Carolina has hosted NHL All-Star activities. The
2011 NHL All-Star Game will feature various hockey-themed events,
entertainment and activities. Further details on the 2011 NHL All-Star
Celebration, including ticket and broadcast details, will be released at
a later date.

Hockey Day In Canada and Hockey Day In America

February
promises to be a historic month for hockey in both Canada and the
United States. CBC’s 11th annual Hockey Day In Canada will take place on
Saturday, February 12 with the following triple header on CBC’s “Hockey
Night In Canada”: Ottawa at Edmonton (2pm ET), Toronto at Montreal (7
pm ET), and Calgary at Vancouver (10pm ET). Hockey Day In Canada
celebrates Canada’s love and devotion to the game of hockey with
celebrations in communities throughout the country.

The NHL and
NBC salute roots of the game, its traditions and pageantry with Hockey
Day in America on Sunday, Feb. 20. As part of USA Hockey’s Hockey
Weekend Across America, presented by Reebok, the day-long event will
celebrate hockey with a slate of NHL games that are scheduled to include
Philadelphia, New York Rangers, Washington, Buffalo, Detroit,
Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Chicago and Boston.

NHL Heritage Classic

The
NHL also hopes to play an outdoor regular season game in Canada next
season and will be discussing the plan with the Competition Committee in
June. The Heritage Classic would be played at McMahon Stadium in
Calgary on Sunday, February 20 and would feature the Montreal Canadiens
and Calgary Flames. CBC and RDS would carry the game in Canada and
VERSUS would telecast the outdoor match in the United States. Assuming
plans for the game are approved, it will be the first NHL regular season
game contested outdoors in Canada since the Edmonton Oilers hosted the
Canadiens at first Heritage Classic at Commonwealth Stadium on November
22, 2003. Fans wishing to follow all the news and information about the
NHL Heritage Classic can log-on to nhl.com.

2011 Stanley Cup
Playoffs

The 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs will begin on
Wednesday, April 13. The last possible date for Game 7 of the Stanley
Cup Final is scheduled for Friday, June 17, 2011.

NHL Awards

A
new tradition continues Wednesday, June 22 in Las Vegas when the top
NHL stars join forces with celebrities from music, stage and screen for a
celebration of hockey’s best at the 2011 NHL Awards at the Pearl
Concert Theater inside the Palms Hotel in Las Vegas. The Awards once
again will celebrate the best of the best in hockey on and off the ice.
Television partners CBC and VERSUS will return for the latest
installment of this renowned event.

NHL Entry Draft

Wrapping
up the historic NHL season will take the League to the “State of
Hockey” as the Minnesota Wild host the 2011 NHL® Entry Draft at Xcel
Energy Center in St. Paul. The Entry Draft will be held over two days,
Friday, June 24 and Saturday, June 25. TSN will provide live
round-by-round coverage of the draft in Canada, while in the U.S.,
Friday’s first round will be live on VERSUS and Saturday’s Rounds 2-7
will be televised by NHL Network. The 2011 NHL Entry Draft will be the
second-ever held in the state of Minnesota and the first at Xcel Energy
Center – a building home to 409 consecutive Wild sellouts. The NHL
Entry Draft has grown significantly since the first such event was held
in a Montreal hotel ballroom in 1963. In Minnesota, NHL club
executives, scouts and coaches will be present on the Entry Draft floor
while more than 10,000 fans and more than 500 print, television and
radio media are expected.

The Buzzer: We have a Game 7; Bobrovsky’s playoff struggles continue

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Two games on Monday night

Washington Capitals 6, Columbus Blue Jackets 3 (Capitals win series 4-2)

Sergei Bobrovsky is one of the NHL’s best goalies. He is a two-time Vezina Trophy winner, a claim that only 22 goalies in league history can make. He has consistently been one of the most productive goalies in the league since arriving in Columbus. For whatever reason, that regular season success has not translated over to the playoffs.

After giving up five goals on Monday night in an elimination game against the Washington Capitals, Bobrovsky’s career postseason numbers now fall to a 5-14 record and an .891 save percentage in 24 appearances.

That is not great. He ended this series with a .900 save percentage as the Blue Jackets dropped four games in a row to the Washington Capitals.

In his defense his only real postseason appearances have come against the Pittsburgh Penguins and Capitals, two teams that get the best of a lot of goalies. On the other hand, when you are a two-time Vezina Trophy winner and get paid the way Bobrovsky does there at some point has to be an expectation for more no matter who the opponent is. The Capitals win the series 4-2, will now play the Pittsburgh Penguins in the second-round for the third year in a row and the fourth time since 2009. It will be the 10th postseason series meeting between the two franchises.

Toronto Maple Leafs 3, Boston Bruins 1 (Series tied 3-3)

There will be one Game 7 in the first-round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs and it will be played on Wednesday night (7:30 p.m. ET puck drop on NBCSN) in Boston.

The Maple Leafs were able to force a Game 7 thanks to their 3-1 win over the Bruins on Monday night thanks to another great performance from Frederik Andersen in net.

You might remember the previous postseason series involving these two teams also went to a Game 7 when the Maple Leafs allowed a 4-1 third period lead to slip away. They forced a Game 7 in that series by also fighting off elimination with close wins in Games 5 and 6.

This group has a chance to change the script.

[NBC’s Stanley Cup Playoff Hub]

Three Stars

1. Frederik Andersen, Toronto Maple Leafs

The Maple Leafs needed a huge game from their goalie on Monday night and they got just that in their 3-1 win. Andersen turned aside 32 shots in the Maple Leafs’ 3-1 win and has been the difference in all three of Toronto’s wins in the series. Without him this series might already be finished. They are going to need one more big performance from him in Boston on Monday night.

2. Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals

Two more goals for Ovechkin Monday as he helped the Capitals top the Blue Jackets. He finished the first-round with five goals, three assists, and four two-point games. Do not ever let anybody tell you he does not produce in the playoffs.

3. Mitch Marner, Toronto Maple Leafs

Frederik Andersen was not the only player to come through for the Maple Leafs on Monday, they also received a couple of huge goals from two of their young stars in William Nylander and Mitch Marner. Marner’s goal, his second of the playoffs, ended up being the game-winner and the result of a rare mistake from Bruins forward Brad Marchand.

Factoid of the Night

This is probably why the Columbus Blue Jackets are now 0-4 in playoff series since entering the league.

Upcoming schedule

No games on Tuesday.

Game 7 for the Boston Bruins vs. Toronto Maple Leafs is on Wednesday.

————

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

Ovechkin powers Capitals to another second-round series vs. Penguins

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When the Washington Capitals lost the opening two games of their first-round series against the Columbus Blue Jackets on home ice — including a Game 2 loss that seemed to only add to their playoff torment — it seemed as if they were headed for another bitterly disappointing exit from the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Then they changed goalies.

Then Alex Ovechkin promised they were going back home tied at two.

Then they finally got a playoff bounce to go their way.

Then they won four games in a row, including Monday’s 6-3 Game 6 decision in Columbus, to eliminate the Blue Jackets and move on to the second-round where they will meet a very familiar nemesis — the Pittsburgh Penguins. For the third year in a row.

For now, though, the focus remains on what the Capitals accomplished in Round One and the way Ovechkin helped put the team on his back and lift them to the series win.

[NBC’s Stanley Cup Playoff Hub]

Do not let anybody ever tell you that Ovechkin doesn’t come through in the playoffs. If they try to, they are wrong. Horribly wrong. Laughably wrong. After his two-goal effort on Monday, he is now up to 51 goals and 98 total points in 103 career postseason games.

His 0.49 goals per game average is the second-highest among active NHL players that have played in at least 50 playoff games, trailing only Nikita Kucherov of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

His 0.96 points per game average is sixth among that same group, trailing only Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Kucherov, Patrick Kane, and Ryan Getzlaf.

He has never had a postseason series in his career where he did not score at least one goal. Don’t think that sounds impressive? Consider that out of the top-25 active postseason goal-scorers in the NHL, all of them — except for Ovechkin — have had at least one postseason series where they were held without a goal. Only four of those players have had fewer than two postseason series without a goal. Scoring goals in the modern day NHL is difficult. It is even more difficult in the playoffs. There is something to be said for that level of consistency.

He brought it in the first-round against the Blue Jackets scoring five goals and adding three assists. He had at least two points in four of the six games, including three of the Capitals’ wins.

On Monday, those two goals were massive for the Capitals, scoring them just six minutes apart in the second period to help them open up a 3-1 lead. The second goal was a vintage Ovechkin power play goal that he scored from his office on top of the circle.

The greatest sign of dominance in professional sports is when the other team knows exactly what you are going to do, where you are going to do it from, and how you are going to do it, and they are still powerless to stop  you. That is Alex Ovechkin on the power play.

That power play unit was 9-for-27 in the series.

Now the Capitals move on to the second round where they have to play the team they’ve had issues trying to solve. The Penguins and Capitals have met in the playoffs 10 times before. The Penguins have won nine of them, including in the second-round in each of the past two seasons and all three times in the Sidney Crosby-Alex Ovechkin era.

Will this be the year the Capitals get over that hump? They are not quite as deep as the teams that could not do it the past two years, but Braden Holtby appears to be locked in in net after regaining his starting job and Ovechkin is playing great. Both are great signs. If the past three matchups between these two franchises are any indication it is sure to be an amazing series that probably goes the distance.

Get ready for it.

————

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

Andersen, Maple Leafs shut down Bruins to force Game 7

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The formula for the Toronto Maple Leafs in their first-round series against the Boston Bruins has been a simple one: When Frederik Andersen is great, they win. When he is not, they get blown out.

In the past two games, both with the Maple Leafs facing elimination, they have been fortunate enough to get the “great” Andersen. His 32-save effort in Toronto’s 3-1 Game 6 win on Monday night is a big reason this series is now headed for a winner-take-all Game 7 in Boston on Wednesday night (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN).

The Maple Leafs have leaned on Andersen a ton all season, not only giving him a massive workload that saw him have to play in 66 games (second most in the league, just one shy of the NHL lead), but also forcing him to face the most shots of any goaltender in the NHL.

Nearly 200 more than the next closest goalie, to be exact. That reliance has continued in this series.

He may not have finished the season with the best numbers in the league, but there is a lot to be said for a goalie that can play that many games, face that many shots, and give his team above average goaltending the way Andersen did.

[NBC’s Stanley Cup Playoff Hub]

The combination of a young, offensive-minded team with a suspect defense that bleeds shots against the way the Maple Leafs do can put a ton of pressure on the goalie. If that goalie is not on his game, things can get ugly in a hurry, just as they did early in the series when Andersen struggled and Toronto was absolutely crushed on the scoreboard and looked to be on their way to a rather quiet and unimpressive postseason exit.

But in the three Maple Leafs wins, Andersen has been a difference maker, especially over the past two where he has stopped 74 of the 78 shots he has faced to help keep their season going.

It is not as if the Bruins haven’t had chances in those games, because they have. Andersen has simply been up to the task.

It would be hard to argue that the Maple Leafs have been the better team at any point in this series because the Bruins have looked downright dominant at times. But in a short series there are a lot of variables that can completely turn things upside down. Goaltending is always at the top of that list.

Over the past two games the Maple Leafs have been getting it.

But it was not just the goaltending on Monday that helped give Toronto another game. They also received big contributions from two of their young stars as William Nylander and Mitch Marner scored goals, with Marner’s goal — his second of the series — going in the books as the game-winner.

Veteran center Tomas Plekanec, a trade deadline acquisition that has at times struggled mightily since coming over from Montreal, also looks to have some new life as this series has progressed and helped put the game away with his second goal of the series late in the third period.

Then there was the penalty kill. With just under seven minutes to play in regulation, the Maple Leafs clinging to a one-goal lead, Marner was sent off for delay of game for shooting the puck over the glass in the defensive zone. The ensuing penalty kill was clinical by Toronto as they completely shut down the Bruins’ power play and nearly scored a shorthanded goal when Kasperi Kapanen broke in alone on Tuukka Rask, only to have Rask just get enough of his shot to send it wide.

Now it all comes down to one game on Wednesday night.

The big question for the Maple Leafs will be the same one that has existed this entire series: Which Frederik Andersen is going to show up? If it is the one they had over the past two games, they might actually pull off this comeback and move on to the second round for the first time since 2003. If it is the one that showed up in the three losses, it might be another ugly result if the Bruins keep generating shots and chances the way they have in the first six games.

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Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

WATCH LIVE: Bruins, Capitals look to advance to Round 2

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Game 6: Boston Bruins at Toronto Maple Leafs, 7 p.m. ET (Bruins lead series 3-2)
NBCSN
Call: Mike Emrick, Pierre McGuire, Eddie Olczyk
Series preview
Stream

Game 6: Washington Capitals at Columbus Blue Jackets, 7:30 p.m. ET (Capitals lead series 3-2)
CNBC
Call: John Forslund, Eddie Olczyk, Joe Micheletti
Series preview
Stream

[NBC’s Stanley Cup Playoff Hub]